what I’ve learned about adult friendships

by Krystal Bick
July 18, 2018

Today, we’re going to talk about The Happy Apples.

What the (fuck) are The Happy Apples, you say? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Let’s rewind to 5th grade Krystal back in Reno, Nevada. I was insufferably shy. I loved to read ALL the time. I was obsessed with the Spice Girls. And admittedly, after reading through that list, not much has changed, but I do think about the group of friends I made and kept when I was that age, and realize, a lot, in fact, has changed.

The Happy Apples was the self-given name of a group of my closest girl friends (shameless shoutout to Darby, Amber, Siobhan and Breanne)! We met most days after school, in my backyard clubhouse (God, I miss that clubhouse) and made up an impressive amount of organizational infrastructure for a childhood secret club. We’re talking a club song, club IDs, club passwords, club pledge, club rules, gosh you name it, it was probably scrawled out in a notebook that is likely still under my childhood bed at home. We told each other secrets. We knew all the words to “Wannabe.” We cried on each other’s shoulders as some of our respective parents went through divorces. We giggled about some of the boys we had crushes on at school. We were inseparable.

In short, it was pure, honest childhood friendship.

Now today’s post isn’t to say friendship becomes less pure or less honest as you get older. On the contrary! I have plenty of amazing, complex and inspiring men and women in my life who I’m so proud to call my friends. But unlike 5th grade Krystal all those years ago, the means to which you meet and foster relationships with these amazing, complex and inspiring people becomes a lot more, let’s say, complicated as you get older. Much more complicated than a shared interest in the Spice Girls and how well you fold notes that you pass in class.

So if the Spice Girls and note folding don’t get us there, how do you meet, make and keep friends, as an adult?

I’ll preface everything below by saying, I’m learning as I go, too! After multiple moves, job changes, relationship changes and lifestyle changes the past few years, my circle of friends has ebbed and flowed through all of it — and it’s still all very much a work in progress. At the end of the day though, sometimes we all need the reminder that we actually DO know how to make friends and that lots of girls (and guys) out there are looking for friends, too! With that in mind, I wanted to kick off this conversation in hopes we could all help each other out a bit, because that’s what internet friends are for, am I right?

So…let’s like…be friends?

OK, first things first. Maybe you’ve just moved to a new city. Or you’ve recently landed a new job in a new industry. Or you’ve broken up with a signifiant other and realized that you lost touch with your former circle of friends along the way. Or you’re just looking to add a few new faces to your group. Whatever the reason, making friends as an adult certainly lacks the structure of yesteryear.

Let’s review: when you don’t have school or extra-curricular activities on your calendar essentially bringing strangers, who we shall rename “potential soon to be friends” together, how do you meet them? Let’s go one step further and say you work from home and your coworker is your dog, well, social interactions become a bit more isolated, at best.

Social media: Perhaps this one seems a bit cliche at this point, especially coming from someone who is in the business of social media content creation, but there’s a reason why most of you when I asked last night on Insta Stories how you make friends as adults responded with: THE INTERNET. And that reason is? It works. Whether it’s through common interests and appreciation on Instagram, Facebook groups you both happen to be a part of or you just happen to like what they have to say on YouTube, there’s a whole world of people out there, sitting behind their screens, much like you, wishing they didn’t have a screen in front of them all the time.

It probably goes without saying, I’ve made so many of my good friends through blogging over the years. And some of them, even though I followed them for what seems like ages, I didn’t actually get the gumption to reach out for a friendship until much later. Take Karen of Where Did You Get That? for instance. I’ve read her blog for YEARS. Years people. In fact, if I recall correctly, she was among the first handful of bloggers I started following way back when and I remember thinking at the time: “When I move to NYC someday, I want to be friends with her!”

Fast forward almost a decade later, and here we are, three years into living in NYC myself, and it wasn’t until this year at a common event, did Karen and I realize: “Hey, you’re cool — let’s be friends!” Certainly doesn’t hurt that we over index on a lot of the same dresses, shoes and bags, all with zero prior coordination, but my point is this: sometimes a simple DM, email or comment goes a LONG way in kick starting a friendship. Don’t be afraid to reach out. I bet whoever you send it to will welcome the invite!

Mutual friends: Again, perhaps this is an obvious one, but I find it’s the approach that makes all the difference here. Sure, you can always ask your friends about their group of friends, but without some extra tangible push here, what’s the catalyst for getting that new group together? Plan group outings, like picnics or afternoon movies, and tell everyone in your friend group to bring one of their friends along. When coworkers invite you out for drinks with their friends and you know zero folks in the group, join! And, if we want to piggyback off the first point here about social media, leverage some of your internet friends who may have friends in your town. Bottom line is: The six degrees of Kevin Bacon really is true — we all have more folks in common than we think and if you go into those interactions with an open mind, you’ll find it hard not to walk away with a new friend (or several!).

Bumble BFF: Confession time — I’m actually trying out Bumble BFF this week, so I don’t have any anecdotal success stories to share, BUT, plenty of you guys last night listed it as a great resource. And really, I’m not surprised. When you think about how we meet pretty much everyone else in our lives: significant others, employers, heck, the Task Rabbit dude who installed all the shelves in my apartment — it really isn’t all that farfetched to believe some of your new soon to be best friends might be waiting for you to swipe on them in an app. Much like dating, there’s a certain finesse to it — and just because you don’t “click” with someone, doesn’t mean you should give up on the whole thing. It takes time, but it’s certainly worth it in the end.

Interest groups and clubs: Second to social media, this was the most noted means to making friends when I asked you guys last night on Insta Stories. And it follows a lot of the same logic that your inner 5th grader might use: find things you both love, proceed to geek out over them, and BOOM, FRIENDS, next thing you know, you’re begging your parents to let you have sleepovers every other night. Ok, it’s not quite like that, but you get the picture. Think of this one as two birds, one stone: join some activities/groups that you personally just love and would want to do anyway in your free time and then make a point to meet and get to know the folks in the group. You may not be braiding everyone’s hair by the end of day one, but you’ll definitely have some new numbers for coordinating lady dates (more on those below!).

Activities include but are not limited to: exercise classes, book clubs, volunteer organizations, church groups, store events, fellow moms you may run into because of your children’s shared activities, you name it! The sky is the limit! Case in point: As some of you may have seen on Insta Stories, I recently started a running group for ladies here in NYC to join and feel like they have a network of women to just get outside and MOVE with. We’ve only had one official run on the books, but I was impressed by how many of the attendees mentioned they had just moved to the city and were looking to make friends. I was so happy and honored they wanted to do that with my little group!

The lone compliment: This one is my favorite, because in a city like New York, where seemingly no one has time for each other, giving a random, unprompted compliment actually goes REALLY far. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sparked up a conversation with someone after they compliment my dress or visa versa, and from that group, I’ve formed a few actual friendships that way — including my upstairs neighbor. Sometimes, all you need is a small gesture like that to really open the door.

OK, we have a few new friends…now what? 

Simply put — it requires a different kind of effort: It goes without saying, life just gets a bit messier as we get older. We get busier. The schedules pile up. Responsibilities mount. Maybe you have kids. Maybe you don’t. And along the way, it gets harder and harder to make time for friendships the way we used to. There’s no magic formula here, as every friendship is unique and different, especially if you compound it with the fact some of your friends may live in other cities or countries. Planning phone call dates, catching up via long emails and even planning trips to take together are great ways to really dial into quality time with your friends. Personally, at this stage in my life, a lot of my friends are starting up their own side hustles, which I personally just love rooting on as one of their biggest cheerleaders. Sometimes our checkins are simply: “Give me a rundown of how your launch plan is coming together?” and while it may be short and brief, depending on what we both have going on during the day, I just want to remind them that I’m thinking about them and I believe in them.

Lady dates: My boyfriend recently dubbed some of my lunch dates as of late my “lady dates” and I have to say, I kinda love it! Whether you’re just starting to get to know your new-found friend, or catching up with an old one, I love being able to carve some time out of my day to meet up for a slightly longer than usual lunch break with a gal pal. It’s a welcomed breath of fresh air (after a lot of screen time) and, as someone who works mainly solo throughout the day, it makes for some great creative idea brainstorm sessions. Plus, it’s the perfect way to sneak in some time with those harder-to-schedule-after-work friends, which I tend to be from time to time! I encourage you all to try and set up a few lady dates this week — I guarantee you’ll both leave feeling energized!

And that’s all I have! Any tips you want to add? Anecdotes you’d like to share? Success stories you want to gush about? Spill!

OUTFIT DETAILS: Ulla Johnson dress in black and white, both on sale now! // Zara sandals // Marine Layer hat (super tempted to pull the trigger on this hat, thoughts?) // Anthropologie straw bag // Vintage Chanel earrings

Photos by Moriah Ziman 

15 thoughts on “what I’ve learned about adult friendships

  1. It’s so true that as you get older it becomes harder to make friends… loved that you included how blogging has started friendships – i feel the same way! I’ve never had friends who loved fashion and style as much as i do so it’s SO NICE to be part of a community where we all have that in common!

    Xx Sarah
    http://www.indecisivelystylish.com

  2. I have been thinking about this lately. Most of my friends from school and college are scattered across different cities. Will definitely try some of these ideas!! Thank you

  3. Loved this! Though I admit I tried Bumble BFF and it was way too online-dating-esque for me. I’ve had better luck passing out business cards (calling cards more like!) at events, workshops, or mutual friends’ parties. And making time for girl dates is a must!

  4. Great post Krystal! Thank you for sharing ❤️
    I have personally made some great friends off social media IG precisely. Establishing connection with a potential friend Is as easy as leaving a genuine comment, DMs and checking up on and showing support as best possible to fellow blogger or IG users. One just has to overcome the fear of acceptance. I love socializing and will often reach out to people I admire or like. if I happen to get a positive response I appreciate it and if not I keep it moving.
    Keep being awesome! And I will love to hang out with you sometime soon. Xx

  5. Thank you so much for this post! It came at such a great time for me. Your comment about how people out there are probably looking for a friend as well really inspired me. I was feeling disheartened after a friend cancelled on me for an event I had already bought tickets for. But after reading this I jumped back onto Facebook and after asking 4 people I finally found someone that is going to come along with me. I’m excited to make a better friend out of someone who is currently only an acquaintance. 🙂

  6. Things do certainly change with friendships as you get older. As a matter of fact, I recently realized that my fiancé has been become my one and only friend. But from work, to taking care of yourself & your own family…there isn’t time left for much else. True friends though should understand that things happen and you should be able to pick right back up where you left off. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    https://www.bluelabelsboutique.com
    https://www.fashionnotfear.com

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